CLEARWATER — Palm Harbor University's Tyler Kaminski hoped that his resume as a two-year starting quarterback, which included several career and school passing records, would be enough to convince college coaches he was worthy of a scholarship.
But there were none after the regular season ended. So Kaminski turned to all-star games to gain exposure. On Wednesday, he did his part on the field, throwing for two first-half touchdowns to lead the North team to a 24-16 victory over the South at the Pinellas County senior all-star game.
The touchdown passes were the only offensive scores for either team, which helped Kaminski earn MVP honors.
"I felt like I had a good game in me," Kaminski said. "We had a great week of practice, and the offensive line did a tremendous job."
Both of Kaminski's touchdown throws were to Largo's Raheem Harvey, a deep threat who got behind the defense enough to finish with more than 100 yards receiving.
"Raheem is a tremendous receiver, and I knew whenever I threw the ball to him there was no doubt that he would come down with it and make a big play," Kaminski said.
The scholarship that Kaminski coveted came through this week when Fairmont State coaches reiterated that they would extend an offer. And Kaminski found out he would have another chance to showcase himself as a late pickup for the Florida Athletic Coaches Association all-star game in Sebring on Dec. 20.
"It's been a good week," Kaminski said.
De-fense! De-fense! There were more defensive scores (three) Wednesday than there were on offense (two).
Dunedin's Brenton Allen, who was named defensive MVP, returned a fumble for a touchdown to give the North a commanding 24-3 lead in the first half.
St. Petersburg Catholic's Elevisi Halapio, the defensive line MVP, had a fumble return for a score to key a second-half comeback by the South. Afterward, Halapio took pictures with his older brother, Jon, a former standout with the Barons who was an offensive lineman for Florida. The other defensive score came from Pinellas Park's Antonio Harris, who returned an interception for a touchdown.
No holds barred: There were fisticuffs from players and fans during the game. Dixie Hollins' Jacquez Hill and Countryside's Michael Johnson were both ejected in the third quarter for throwing punches during a fight that cleared both benches and caused a lengthy meeting with referees.
Two separate fights between fans also occurred during the second half. There were as many as 19 cars from Clearwater Police or the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office there after the game.
Special awards: Largo's Cordell Stewart and Shorecrest's Evan Johns were honored with the academic excellence award. The Outstanding Character awards were given to East Lake's Justin World and St. Petersburg's Riley Barr.
Bob Putnam can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or ( 727) 445-4169.